Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Under the wire..

I have just managed to grab some time and get something posted for you guys today.. and though it is a reprint, I did choose it for it’s appropriateness..

I am in a bit of a muddle here today, as I sit at my keyboard. I have six or seven  directions I could head in, if you will, and am unsure which to share with you, Dear Reader. And how to do it. I think I will just “free flow” today.

I will start with an educational word of caution..
Yesterday Today, I spent hours in a client’s home. They could not access their Gmail.

No. Their account was not “hijacked”. They simply could not remember their password.

They had set one, and then had been letting the computer remember it for them. But, their browser suddenly forgot to remember correctly the other day.
Well, no big deal.. their logins are stored on the “keychain” (it was a Mac).
Which is password protected.
Which they couldn’t remember either.. as they had set it years ago when the computer was new.
Catch 22.

Worse, this person was in the habit of setting passwords, and letting the computer do the work: they knew not a single one of their passwords (except their User password, which they use every day).. and didn’t have them written down anywhere.

I did my best to explain that in this Internet Age, user name + password combinations are our keys: they give you access: and w/o them, you are S.O.L.; and you want to hide a spare (copy) somewhere. Just like you would a house key.
But I could tell that not even the frustration of hours of playing the “guessing passwords game” and dozens of “click here to reset password” emails (Gmail said “No. we don’t believe you are you.”), nor my mild chiding coaxing, was going to change this person’s behavior or attitude. Neither would my bill.

For those who do want a better way to “manage” all your passwords, you may want to take a look at LastPass.

But, I have seen an increase in the number of malware (aka “virus”) infections, and also an increase in the number of infections which included backdoors and keyloggers (this coincides nicely with the approaching tax season..). Many of these infections were spread by email coming from friends and contacts. So now would be a good time to ramp up your email “paranoid common sense”, and not implicitly trust that the email (appearing to come) from your good buddy Joe is safe.

And it’s a good time for me to pitch to you my Got A Computer? Top 10 Things You Should Do article. It is a checklist worth knowing.

Today’s quote:For a list of all the ways technology has failed to improve the quality of life, please press three.” ~ Alice Kahn

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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January 23, 2012 - Posted by | advice, computers, how to, Internet, passwords

16 Comments »

  1. I have been using LastPass for years. I am not a fan of using the cloud but this really comes in handy if you are somewhere and you need to get to your passwords. I have Sticky Password Pro and If I remember to bring my flash drive then I am cool too..but most the time I don’t have it on me. To generate passwords I have it set at 11 characters using caps, lower case, numbers and special. You can even password notes within the program. You only need to remember 1 password..the only that opens the actual program.

    Like

    Comment by delenn13 | January 23, 2012 | Reply

    • delenn13,
      I use the free version of RoboForm myself. (That data is mine and no one else’s – period.)

      But most people will find LastPass a real boon.

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | January 23, 2012 | Reply

  2. I used the Free RoboForm for about 3 or 4 yrs but since it allowed only 2 identities I switched to LastPass. I needed more..plus I was saving most of the hubbies.

    The saga continues..
    Now it’s ACTA…Internet, listen up. ACTA is scarier than both PIPA and SOPA, and it will be signed soon. Do your part : politics

    Say NO to ACTA – YouTube

    Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Looks like it is already signed by most countries…with no voting and no input for the internet, like usual. “Groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) oppose ACTA,[5] stating that civil society groups and developing countries were excluded from discussion during ACTA’s development in an example of policy laundering.”

    “The Free Software Foundation (FSF) has published “Speak out against ACTA”, stating that the ACTA threatens free software by creating a culture “in which the freedom that is required to produce free software is seen as dangerous and threatening rather than creative, innovative, and exciting.” ACTA would also require that existing ISPs no longer host free software that can access copyrighted media; this would substantially affect many sites that offer free software or host software projects such as SourceForge. Specifically, the FSF argues that ACTA will make it more difficult and expensive to distribute free software via file sharing and P2P technologies like BitTorrent, which are currently used to distribute large amounts of free software. The FSF also argues that ACTA will make it harder for users of free operating systems to play non-free media because DRM protected media would not be legally playable with free software.”

    And on another front….

    As Kosh would say… And so it begins….

    FileSonic Just Killed Itself By Disabling File Sharing And Uploaded has cut the US off from their services.

    Like

    Comment by delenn13 | January 23, 2012 | Reply

    • delenn13,
      RoboForm is one of those small handful of apps I do advice people to pay the small fee to ‘go pro’. And, yes.. we live in interesting times.

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | January 23, 2012 | Reply

    • delenn13 –
      The U-tube Vid – Say No To ACTA is Powerful…saying it all plain and simple…I wish everyone could watch that vid!

      I’ve been aware of the contents of the U-Tube Vid and ACTA during the early stages of it’s development; because of being the News Junkie and Political Activist that I was…(probably still am.)
      Seeing this vid; I realize… “regretfully”… I sort-of-let-go of these issues.

      I have a bulging file of letters from politicians with their polite, trumped-up, insincere replies to the actions/demonstrations
      I’ve taken…until it all became fatiguing and disheartening.

      Along with the above I realized that some of the serious issues and concerns expressed by the public “via any route taken” ‘gets lost in the shuffle” buried in the Overload of Information (info. that’s often confusing with many slants) that’s available to us…to the point of it being Counter-Productive. While I think it is absolutely necessary to defend our rights as entitled tax paying citizens; I ask myself: what do I/we need to do to get the reality of these issues HEARD? I somewhat feel… “as History repeats itself” …we become too tired… just trying to survive… too busy to take the time to focus on these important issues. To conclude this subject… I understand the OCCUPATION…is that the way to go?

      Like

      Comment by Gaia | January 24, 2012 | Reply

  3. Paul, Passwords “scream” I have many which seems to be a hassle at times, (although I remember lots of them…the ones I use most often) I’ve wished there was an easier way. I will take a look at Last Pass that you mentioned. Thanks

    Like

    Comment by Gaia | January 24, 2012 | Reply

    • Gaia,
      Yes, it’s true – it doesn’t take long before you have a “login password” overload.. which is why so many people re-use a single, simple, easy to remember password over and over and over and over — like “password”. A terrible “no no”!
      (Which is just one reason why [some] security types refer to ‘end users’ as the weakest link.)

      I have given up trying to remind people to use long, ‘complex’ passwords, and change them every so often (say.. 4 months), and now simply refer non-Geeks to LastPass – it’s convenience, simplicity, and features are hard to beat.

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | January 24, 2012 | Reply

    • Gaia,

      Some other things LastPass can do is..autofill forms on the internet..check them over but most the times..it’s pretty accurate. You can even set up different profiles for filling the forms. Plus you can group your passwords…you can set up groups like Forums, Security, Software, Newsletters..etc

      Like

      Comment by delenn13 | January 24, 2012 | Reply

  4. I’ve taken to using 2 USB jump drives to store all my passwords on. They’re kept safely out of plain sight and updated as needed, using notepad as the editor. I’ve tried password applications including the ones listed here, but I just can’t get used to them. Not sure why. Anyway, with CCleaner to remove the traces of my edited password files from the hard drive, I feel fairly safe and I have all my passwords close at hand.

    Like

    Comment by balmy33 | January 24, 2012 | Reply

    • balmy33,
      Good to see you here again.

      .. sounds to me like your password ‘master lists’ are secure except for possibly physical theft/fire, which would be mighty good cause to change your logins anyhow.
      (Keeping them out of plain sight is wise, IMHO.. unless you’re like me, and you forget where you hid them.. ha!)

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | January 24, 2012 | Reply

  5. I think they named it incorrectly. The “Occupy” term is getting in the way of of what they are trying to say. When you protest…never break laws or you loose your creditability. Burn your draft card, bra, or carry a sign but don’t set up housekeeping/tents in a park
    .
    But I think “We are the 99%” is pretty much true as it stands. The banks get into trouble or the car industry is slumped, they get handouts from the government. You lose our job, get sick…Sorry on your own! Oh, and if you get help..you are a parasite…

    Re: The word “parasite”…
    How a USM professor became an Internet meme | The Free Press

    To clarify, Read said the main point of his statement was that “if people are concerned about those making money without work, then they should look at the top 1 percent.”

    And I have almost gotten the feeling the press/media is being bought/stifled also. There are still Occupy Movements going on..but do you hear about them? I guess the 1% got tired of pictures of their goons spraying old ladies and women with pepper spray.

    I found this too….

    I love Wil Wheaton(Star Trek:NextGen) and his way with words….There is some NSFW words..so be prepared.
    WIL WHEATON dot TUMBLR, MPAA Directly & Publicly Threatens Politicians Who Aren’t Corrupt Enough To Stay Bought

    Not that it matters, and not that I’m some kind of rich mogul, but I’ll say this again: I have lost more money to creative accounting, and American workers have lost more jobs to runaway production, than anything associated with what the MPAA calls piracy. Chris Dodd is lying about piracy costing us jobs. Hollywood’s refusal to adapt to changing times is what’s costing the studios money. That’s it.

    I posted this elsewhere but….

    “If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth. If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” Joseph Goebbels – Minister of Propaganda

    The MPAA keep repeating and the people believe it.

    Like

    Comment by delenn13 | January 24, 2012 | Reply

    • Sadly delenn13, when the people in the USA could have kept this insanity from starting in the first place, they stood idly by and let the RIAA shove the DMCA down the throat of congress in 1998. I felt as if I was the only person in the States that wrote to my representatives in Washington. Napster and its’ users were supposedly the big targets then, but the law was too broadly written. You can see where it led us.

      I wrote to my Congressmen, Senators, and the President, and I argued that I should have the right to make copies of my digital media… specifically so that my grubby-peanut-butter-fingered grandkids could use copies of my movies and music, while the originals were stored out of reach. I did that before the DMCA was passed, but now it’s illegal. I was forced by a giant corporation to stop doing it.

      And, it’s illegal only because of the apathy of the American people. Nobody (or not enough) cared then, and it seems that nobody cares now either. That SOPA-PIPA survey Paul posted showed me that. 10 responses? The squeaky wheel gets the grease folks. If you don’t tell them you aren’t happy, they will believe you are.

      Like

      Comment by kstinman | January 25, 2012 | Reply

      • kstinman,
        While you have addressed your reply to delenn13, I feel compelled to stick in my 2¢.

        Whether it is simply Man’s nature, or a failure of the educational institutions, I don’t know; but it sure seems to this lil ole country boy that humans repeatedly fail to learn the basic lessons of History. I have posted this poem before, but your mention of public apathy..

        (In Germany) First they came for the communists,
        and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

        Then they came for the trade unionists,
        and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

        Then they came for the Jews,
        and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

        Then they came for the Catholics,
        and I didn’t speak out because I was Protestant.

        Then they came for me
        and there was no one left to speak out for me.
        ~ pastor Martin Niemöller

        (I am not saying that “anti-piracy” law is on the same plane as what occurred in Nazi Germany.. )

        Like

        Comment by techpaul | January 25, 2012 | Reply

        • “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it ” ~George Santayana~ (More frequently heard as “Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it”.)

          We deserve every thing we get if we refuse to get involved. I have not one iota of sympathy for anyone who complains after it’s too late…

          Thanks for your input.

          Like

          Comment by kstinman | January 25, 2012 | Reply

          • kstinman,
            One of my “fave” quotes.

            (Though.. I have it in my head as “Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it” for some reason.. (mental laziness?).)

            Like

            Comment by techpaul | January 25, 2012 | Reply

  6. I was right there with ya in 1998 telling people..this isn’t good…We can’t let this happen. No one cared…it was college kids and their downloads…

    Well here it is 2012:

    Well, Ollie, here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into!

    Love the saying for today….
    “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.” ~ Unknown

    That’s half the problem, not paying attention..and the other half doesn’t care.

    Like

    Comment by delenn13 | January 25, 2012 | Reply


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